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General Session: Lessons Learned 

Thursday, August 27, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Attendees will select from one of ten discussion topics outlined below meant to inspire reflections of the knowledge, techniques, and tips they've gained from leaders in philanthropy. As one of the official connection opportunities, attendees can elect to turn on their cameras and unmute! Participants will have approximately 45 minutes to crowd-source ideas to implement, grow their list of must-see session recordings, and to identify individuals from their discussion group they want to follow up with. 

We encourage you to read through all of the topics and discussion questions below before the event. 

Topic 1: Coping with Job Security and Budget Cuts

Moderated by Sarah Daly

Many of us are facing uncertainty in our organizations, and the specter of furloughs, layoffs, and slashed budgets is impossible to ignore. This discussion group aims to share lessons learned at PD about future-proofing our careers, managing scarce resources, and advocating for ourselves and our teams. A strength of our PD community is the network of professionals willing to be generous with their knowledge, contacts, and experience. Let’s leverage that network in a safe and productive conversation about the realities of coping with these unprecedented challenges.

Discussion questions:

  • Have you been personally affected by layoffs or furloughs? Your organizations?
  • How do put yourself in the best position to prepare for an unplanned career shift?
  • Are your teams being asked to do more with less? Have you lost essential resources? How have you approached this?

Topic 2: Fundraising During COVID: Where to Prospect, How to Better Partner with Gift Officers?

Moderated by Joseph Gonzales

Throughout #PDVE2020 you have heard about how prospect development professionals and different institutions are responding to the current health crisis and recession. Let’s talk about some of the tactics and strategies we can apply to our fundraising efforts and partnerships within our respective organizations.

Discussion questions:

  • What lessons have we shared and learned about our prospecting efforts that will allow us to remain responsive to expanded fundraising initiatives during a recession?
  • How do we continue to partner with fundraisers in ways which remain relevant throughout a pandemic that may require new ways of thinking and working?

Topic 3: Creating Connections During Remote Work

Moderated by Devon Gessert

Are you leading a remote team, part of a team or a ‘team’ of one? No matter what your role is, creating and maintaining connection while working remotely is critical to having a sense of community and even creating strong bonds on the team or in your development office. Learn and share common and simple strategies that busy prospect researchers can successfully employ whether you are a team of one or part of a larger group.

Discussion questions:

  • What have you tried that was either fun or lead to better connection while working remotely? Have you discovered a ‘new normal’ in your communications and connections?
  • Do you feel more connected now, less connected, or is the connection just…different? If so, how?

Topic 4: You Reached Your Dream Job, Now What? Career Paths for Experienced PD Pros

Moderated by Liz Clark

When you reach an inflection point in your career, it can be hard to bring your next step into focus or to continue to grow within your position. Whether you've found your dream job or you're seeking something more, we'll share growth inspiration and lifelong learning approaches for prospect development professionals with approximately 10 years of experience or more in the field.

Discussion questions:

  • What growth opportunities did you identify for yourself during #PDVE2020?
  • What motivates you to continue developing your skills and knowledge?
  • What kinds of connections are you seeking to advance your development? 

Topic 5: Small Shops: Where Do We Start?

Moderated by Erin Osborn

Being in a small shop and attending a conference can feel overwhelming. How do you manage information overload and focus on establishing next steps from lessons learned at the conference if you are in a small shop?

Discussion questions:

  • What new idea did you learn that you want to implement at your shop?
  • What steps can you take to scale ideas to fit a small shop?

Topic 6: Emerging Data Scientists

Moderated by Sharise Harrison

As an emerging data scientist, the future is unlimited. Let's discuss your takeaways, inspirations and wow moments from Virtual PD2020. This is a space to encourage, empower and educate our new data science colleagues.

Discussion questions:

  • What sessions inspired you the most? How will you incorporate lessons learned at your organization?
  • How do you feel data science is viewed at your organization? How can you continue or change it?
  • As an emerging data scientist, where do you feel you need the most support?

Topic 7: Diversifying Your Prospecting, Portfolios, and Solicitation, Volunteer, and Board Pipeline

Moderated by Jaime Miranda

Now more than ever, it's important to be conscious of diversity, equity and inclusion in advancement. Let's discuss strategies to diversity your prospecting, portfolios, and solicitation, volunteer, and board pipeline.

Discussion questions:

  • How can you discover and promote non-traditional prospects from your constituency? Share success stories and strategies.
  • Once you've found them, how can you keep track of them so you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time?

Topic 8: Portfolio Optimization Techniques

Moderated by Kate McConnell

Learn from your colleagues how metrics can help you better understand and track the performance of your major gifts portfolio, helping your frontline fundraisers work as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Discussion questions:

  • What functionality are you using to track portfolio metrics? (CRM, Excel, Tableau, none... etc)
  • What wins have you had in using metrics to drive portfolio conversations with frontline fundraisers?

Topic 9: Data Privacy and Protection

Moderated by Elizabeth Goodman

Data is a big deal (understatement of the year, decade, century…). This discussion group will cover lessons learned during PDVE2020 regarding data privacy and protection issues.

Discussion questions:

  • What data practices will you be changing?
  • How will you implement those changes?
  • What do you see as the most challenging piece of making these changes happen?
  • What are your biggest concerns about implementing these changes?

Topic 10: Due Diligence or Vetting – Policies and Processes

Moderated by Lori Hood Lawson

Due diligence or vetting requires time but most importantly requires a solid process that supports an organization’s policies. Also, due diligence or vetting requires an organization’s policies in support of this time consuming but invaluable process. This discussion group will cover lessons learned during PDVE2020 regarding applicable policies and processes.

Discussion questions:

  • Which resources or policies are your organization most in need of in order to support a due diligence or vetting program?
  • What due diligence or vetting practices will you be tweaking or changing based on PDVE2020?
  • What are the challenges you foresee in implementing these changes?